by darrow, Tue Nov 21, 2006 at 01:30:18 AM EST
In the summer of 2004 several attorneys in Knoxville, Tennesse wanted to raise money for the Kerry campaign when Kerry was still competitive in Tennessee. They asked Kerry's campaign that 20% of the money they raised be spent locally. Kerry's campaign insisted that 100% of the money locally raised without any assistance from Kerry's campaign go to Washington. Faced with this ultimatum from the insiders running the Kerry campaign, a separate Tennesse campaign corporation was established. The moral of the story will be obvious to those who know the story of the little red hen - those who raised the money decided how it was shared.
Another small vignette illustrates Kerry's belief that campaigns are won in Washington, not where the voters are. An Oberlin College student (Oberlin, Ohio) who had worked in a number of elections contacted Kerry's campaign in the spring of 2004 and told them that he would volunteer his time and pay his own expenses to work for them fulltime. The student foolishly believed that his efforts would be needed in Ohio. He was wrong, the DC insiders running the campaign insisted that he come to Washington, home of the chattering classes. These same insiders told Kerry that he should be fiscally responsible and not spend 15 million dollars in Ohio to spend on lawyers. None of these advisers told him that if you don't get into overtime you don't need the lawyers. None of these advisers told him that one resource the Democratic party has is lots of good lawyers who wanted to defeat George Bush.
The 50 state strategy has limitations, but compared to the DC strategy which lost 3 straight close elections the 50 state strategy is already a proven winner. The contempt shown the locals by Washington Democrats was an important element of the hubris of the DC Democrats which sunk John Kerry, but the siren song of those in the know is still an obstacle in 2008.